To the editor:
As president of the Salt Lake City Public Library's board of directors, I have a responsibility to inform the public of the impact a rollback in taxes would have on this community's outstanding library system.Initiative A, the proposed rollback in property taxes, hits the city library system particularly hard because 95 percent of its current revenue is from property taxes. The State Tax Commission and the city treasurer's office have analyzed the impact of the property tax reduction and estimate that the City Library would experience a 42 percent decrease in funding. This translates into a loss of $1,956,945.
The Library Administration and Board of Directors have worked diligently to develop a proposal which will deal with such a loss in the most responsible way possible. Fixed costs, such as insurance and minimal facilities operations and maintenance, cannot be reduced. Therefore, major educations in the budget can be achieved only at the expense of public service. What follows are the acts that outline how the City Library must respond to such a severe loss:
- Service hours and staff would be cut by over 33 percent. In the entire United States, Salt Lake City would have the only part-time library located within a state capital.
- The 10-year capital improvement plan would be put on indefinite hold. Projects which would be immediately eliminated include: expansion of Anderson-Foothill, Avenues, and Rose Park Branch Libraries; elevator for handicapped at Sprague Branch Library; renovation of Main Library and Chapman Branch Library.
- Funds spent on the purchase of materials would decrease by 55 percent. This includes books, magazines, and newspapers.
- Funds spent on maintenance of buildings and grounds would decrease by 21 percent or $86,449, leaving less than the amount required to properly maintain the buildings.
The Salt Lake City Public Library has grown to become one of the finest library systems in the country. Over the last ten years, the City Library has had the largest increase in use of any major city library in the United States.
James A. Giauque, president
Salt Lake City